FCB Nyasa Big Bullets return to Kamuzu Stadium to host Ekwendeni Hammers in the TNM Super League on Saturday afternoon.
Kalisto Pasuwa’s men will be looking to bounce back after registering our first loss of the season away to Chitipa United in our previous fixture at the weekend.
The three points will however not come on a silver platter for the second-placed defending champions who will be facing a top-five opposition that has registered three wins, three draws and two losses in the opening eight games this campaign.
We take a look at how they have performed so far…
Playing two back-to-back goalless draws against Kamuzu Barracks, Moyale Barracks and two back-to-back 2-1 and 3-1 defeats to Mighty Mukuru Wanderers and Silver Strikers, respectively, meant Elias Chirambo’s men were winless in four matches and they dropped into the bottom three after week four of the campaign.
In week five, Ekwedeni hosted Mafco at Mzuzu Stadium where they had their first win through Mphatso Magaleta’s second-half spot-kick to beat the Salima-based soldiers 1-0.
That was the beginning of a remarkable run as they went on to record back-to-back wins for the first time following a win over Chitipa United with the same margin through another Magaleta effort.
Their next assignment was another home game against Karonga United. Chirambo’s side earned a point after they played out to a 1-all draw before travelling to Blantyre for their second away match against Mighty Tigers at Mpira Stadium.
The Northern Region side recorded an important 1-0 victory courtesy of Magaleta’s third-minute strike to move up to fifth in the standings with 12 points from eight games.
Ekwendeni Hammers’ form away from home
Saturday’s opponents have only travelled twice in the current season from which they registered one loss and one win. They lost to Mighty Mukuru Wanderers 2-1 at Kamuzu Stadium in the third week before recording a win against Tigers in week eight.
Hammers form away to Bullets
Ever since earning promotion into the top-flight league at the end of the 2019 Simso Northern Region Football League, Hammers have never won any game against Bullets.
The first meeting in the 2020/21 season saw them losing 2-0 at Kamuzu Stadium courtesy of a strike in each half from Hassan Kajoke and McFallen Mgwira.
Their second away trip ended 3-1 in favour of The People’s Team, who scored through Mgwira, Babatunde Adepoju and Kajoke.
Saturday’s fixture will be their third appearance at Kamuzu Stadium against the defending champions.
Their dangerous players
The signing of Mphatso Magaleta on loan from Bullets proved to be a game-changer as the attacking midfielder has scored five of the six goals that the team has scored this term.
He is probably their dangerous man on the field with his goal-scoring run in eight games. However, Magaleta’s loan agreement does not permit him to play when Hammers face his parent current.
Nonetheless, Hammers still have Wongani Zulu to watch. He is one of the best players in the current season, no wonder he earned his first Malawi National Team call-up under the interim head coach Patrick Mabedi.
Zulu has one goal to his name, but his overall contribution has been enormous for a side that battled relegation last season.
Ekwendeni plays an attacking game only that they struggle to utilize their chances. Against Tigers, Magaleta missed a penalty, which would have completed the mission in the first half.
The team kept creating plenty of chances but failed to hit the back of the net, which Chirambo will be eager to work on before facing the 16-time league winners who are eyeing a fifth successive title under Kalisto Pasuwa.
In four meetings against Bullets, the Hammers have not won a single match, scoring only one goal against eight.
On Saturday, the odds favour Bullets to take home all three points, but Pasuwa’s charges should be very careful against a side currently enjoying good form.